Drought conditions persist in most of Colorado

PUEBLO — Despite some decent early snowfall, drought conditions persist through most of Colorado.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, three-quarters of the state is in some form of drought. Conditions are the worst in the Arkansas Valley in southeastern Colorado. Parts of Bent, Crowley and Otero counties are listed as being in exceptional drought, the worst designation of the monitor’s five-category scale.

The South Platte and the North Platte basins, hit by September’s flooding, are listed as drought free.

“Storage levels are strong and better than they were this time last year, easing concerns of municipal providers,” Taryn Finnessey of the Colorado Water Conservation Board told The Pueblo Chieftain (http://bit.ly/1cWRrKO). “Early season snow has been decent, but long-range forecasts paint an unclear picture as to what we can expect throughout the winter months.”

Reservoir levels across the state are at about 83 percent of average, up from 66 percent at this time last year. Ten percent of that increase has come since September, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Colorado Springs Utilities’ water supply is about 70 percent of average. It expects to finish the year with 1.6 years worth of water in its reservoirs.

The reservoirs of Denver Water, Colorado’s largest supplier, are nearly full because of the flooding.

Snowpack levels are slightly above average but early season snowfall isn’t used to predict the future water supply since most of Colorado’s snow usually doesn’t fall until March and April.


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